What is Gita-Daily?
Gita-Daily provides condensed nuggets of insight gleaned from the Vedic wisdom-tradition and re-presented in an idiom and style that resonates with contemporary needs, interests and concerns. It is a brief 300 word reflection on a verse from the Bhagavad-gita that can aid intellectuals, spiritual seekers and devotees in:
- Gaining a deeper understanding of the Gita’s message
- Learning to see the world with the eyes of the Gita
- Empowering themselves with Gita insights to conquer their lower impulses
- Applying the Gita’s teachings for strengthening their devotional practices
- Using Krishna’s words to perceive his presence in their heart and life
- Enriching their personal relationship with Krishna.
Gita-Daily provides condensed nuggets of insight gleaned from the Vedic wisdom-tradition and re-presented in an idiom and style that resonates with contemporary needs, interests and concerns.
- The Vedic (Indian) wisdom-tradition has provided some of the loftiest philosophical insights in the world, yet most contemporary people – both Indians and non-Indians – find it difficult to see the relevance of those insights to their daily lives and contexts. This difficulty is caused not by the irrelevance of those insights, but by their inaccessibility: they are generally written in Sanskrit, often using words that have multiple meanings embedded in them. Moreover, they frequently presume familiarity with the subtle nuances of the thought systems within which they developed. Making the totality of Vedic thought accessible to the modern mind requires comprehensive research and exhaustive writing, a massive task upon which many scholars worldwide are working vigorously. Even if this thought becomes accessible, not many people have the time – or, more importantly, the interest – to access this giant body of wisdom. Gita-Daily makes the humble attempt to stimulate interest in Vedic thought by mining and bringing forth small nuggets of wisdom that the contemporary mind finds accessible, relevant and illuminating.
- Gita-daily is also a humble attempt to fulfill on a daily basis the standing instruction of Srila Prabhupada to all his followers to write at every opportunity: “Realization means you should write, every one of you, what is your realization. What for this Back to Godhead is? You write your realization, what you have realized about Krishna. That is required. It is not passive. Always you should be active. Whenever you find time, you write. Never mind, two lines, four lines, but you write your realization. Shravanam kirtanam, writing or offering prayers, glories. This is one of the functions of the Vaishnava.”
- Gita-daily is a metamorphosed version of a personal journal of an individual spiritual journey. Over the years, while studying the sacred Vedic scriptures, whenever I would get an insight of how a particular verse or narrative or analysis addressed my concerns, I would phrase that insight in my own words in my personal journal. During my various talks, I would often share some of these insights, gleaned from scriptures but re-presented with linguistic sophistication. Many of those who attended these talks would tell me that they found these re-presentations illuminating, offering them a new light with which to see the latent wisdom in scriptural details that they already knew. Those giving such feedbacks often encouraged – even urged – me to put these insights into writing, but I hesitated for several years, being unsure of the best way to do so. As these insights were drawn from within the scriptural tradition, they assumed familiarity with the basic scriptural context; providing that historical, cultural, philosophical and logical background in writing would itself take a significant amount of energy and time – and would also, at times, obscure that insight amidst the large background information. Finally, after much thought, I decided to skip the background and write the insights themselves while referring as less as possible to the background. Despite my best efforts, some of these thoughts may seem a bit unfamiliar to those readers who are new to the Vedic context. If this happens to you, I request you to focus first on the question-answer section, where points are presented with the background and the arguments are built systematically and logically. The section of Daily Quotes presents thought capsules for reflection and inspiration especially for those already familiar with the Vedic context.
- From another perspective, the Gita-Daily feature caters to the readers who are primarily right-brained, as it addresses the inspirational, creative, intuitive side of the human psyche. Thus, this new feature balances the primarily left-brained emphasis of the site, which resulted from the many QA articles that catered to the logical, critical, sequential side.
- Many of these insights, being gleaned from the exalted Vedic tradition, are themselves lofty and, though I am personally inspired by their depth and am striving to practice them in my own life, I am aware that I still have a long way to go. That’s why, while writing these insights, I see myself not as a teacher but as a conveyor, forming a bridge between the timeless and the timely, the eternal and the contemporary. One of my personal motivations for starting this feature was to ensure that I became more diligent and regular in my own daily personal journal writing. I too have found that ever since I resolved to write a daily reflection on the Bhagavad-gita I found myself becoming more alert in my study, more conscious of my surroundings, more prompt to jot down any striking thoughts that would earlier have gone unattended and overall more conscious of the spiritual underlying the material.
- I have chosen to focus on the Bhagavad-gita because it is simultaneously profoundly philosophical, unendingly inspirational and eminently practical. Over the last 15 years I have studied the Gita dozens of times and have spoken on it hundreds of times. I have also taught the full Gita as a systematic course several times and have written scores of articles on it. Despite this repeated contact with the Gita, I am even now amazed by its unfading freshness: contemplation on its verses brings rejuvenation, illumination and determination. I feel deeply indebted to the Bhagavad-gita for the sanity, clarity, gravity, tenacity and velocity that it has brought to my life. As an expression of my gratitude to the Gita, I feel impelled to do whatever I can to make its inspiration available to as many of my fellow humans as possible. But I also realize that most people will not have the facility to carry out an intensive or extensive study of the Gita. So the Gita-daily is my humble attempt to repay my debt to the Gita by making its wisdom comprehensible and accessible through daily nuggets of contemplation on one or more of its verses. As I am focussing on the inspirational potency of the Gita and not on its semantic intricacies, I generally don’t quote either the Sanskrit verse or its English translation verbatim, but present the relevant import of the verse, rendered according to the theme under discussion. Nonetheless, I provide a link for reference whenever I quote a verse for those readers who would like to see the Sanskrit or the translation.
I hope that you find Gita-Daily helpful in your spiritual journey.
Yours in the service of Lord Krishna,
Chaitanya Charan das